National | Debbie Ngarewa-Packer

Te Pāti Māori getting cut through across the spectrum - Shane Te Pou

Māori political commentator Shane Te Pou says Te Pāti Māori's impressive poll result this week show it is gaining traction with non-Māori voters.

"To get up to 4%, you need some support across the demographics," he tells

Te Pou, a former member and candidate for the Labour Party, believes the Roy Morgan poll has Te Pāti Māori firmly in the position to decide the next government after next year's election, and gives the party momentum to pick up more seats.

"They will hold their seat. They may well win Te Tai Hauāuru, particularly if Adrian Rurawhe steps down from his seat and focuses on being the Speaker."

The strong showing in the poll, the party's highest in more than a decade, is a reward for the efforts its two first-term MPs have put in since entering the house.

"Rawiri [Waititi] in particular challenges the orthodoxy; he is seen as the battler for the underdog. He and Debbie [Ngarewa-Packer] are very good performers in the House."

Honeymoon over for National? 

Te Pou says National has some real problems that need to be addressed after the poll showed its support drop.

"Particularly when you're in opposition, there is only one job that really counts, and that's the Leader of the Opposition. Christopher Luxon's made gaffe after gaffe."

National's support has dropped by four points, to 35% amid a series of policy backtracks and a social media storm involving Luxon appearing to be in Te Puke while on holiday in Hawaii.

"The abortion issue that he tried to make right, instead he made it murkier. He delivered an international speech where he dumped on Business NZ, which is against established protocols. And yesterday made a flip on tax.

"His poll numbers are going backwards personally and in terms of forming a government at a time when the headwinds should be behind them and the government struggling."